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Should I do an apprenticeship in the early years sector?

(3 Posts)


I am currently in 1st year of uni in Ireland and am studying Early Childhood Care and Education. Unfortunately, I hate the academic side of the course and uni life in general so think I will leave uni at or before the end of first year.

I love working with children so was thinking of doing an apprenticeship in the early years sector instead (even if it would be a backwards step from where I am now in terms of level) so was wondering if I should do an apprenticeship in the early years sector in the UK and if so what type of one should I do? (I’ve see variations in the names of them so am a bit confused and would like to know what would be the best one to do!)

Ideally I’d like to be a pre-school teacher (rather than a nursery assistant, but would be happy with either). And I think I have the necessary grades in my GCSE and A-Level equivalents so should be able to do a Level 3/Advanced one rather than a Level 2/Intermediate one .

Thanks in advance! smile

BackInAtLast Sun 31-Mar-19 09:49:59

I'm not sure when you posted op, so hope this is relevant.

A level 3 apprenticeship or doing a level 3 at an HE college deliver the same qualification in different ways for Early Years and Education.

An apprenticeship is great if you have somewhere to live, ideally are near your chosen apprenticeship, and you only go to college one day a week. You will however be working a full time job for less then the minimum wage (even if you are over 18, many only pay £3.70 an hour for the first year of an apprenticeship). You won't get long School hols. You will also need to find one! There are not loads and you have to apply like a job. There are usually nursery ones, but you might not find one you can travel to so have to'd have to demonstrate why you are giving up a Uni course, and show that you'd be committed to doing a different route in the same field.

If you do the same course in an HE college I think there is a lot more support. You have to go to college 3 days, and do an unpaid placement for the other 2. You get school hols, and some settings will offer you paid work in the hols. The first year your placement is in a nursery, second year is in a school (R, Yr1).

The thing is it's the same qualification. It depends on how you say you don't like the academic side, but this is still a qualification both ways, and requires a lot of work, continual assessment through written assignments and there are loads.

If you are very organised with paperwork and academic work, I think an apprenticeship will be best, but you have far less time in the week to complete the course and assignment. There is far less support (in terms of academic but also pastoral support) if you do an apprenticeship.

Your local FE college would be a good place to to the Apprenticeship team but also about the course.

The name of the course is NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education (Early Years Educator)

Apprenticeship can be slightly different names like Nursery Nurse apprenticeship or Early Years Educator look carefully as some as more limiting, they tend to be more focussed in one direction than a general qualification.

Good luck OP, keep us posted! thanks


I hated the academic and social sides of uni so left at the end of January (a few days after I posted this)

I just want to out working with kids rather than studying irrelevant seeming stuff.

My main thing would be to decide what type of apprenticeship I’d like to do-I like the idea of ‘teaching’ the kids so I think I would rather opt for a teaching assistant or early years educator rather than a nursery assistant.

Thanks for your advice!

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